Is protein a priority for you, too? If so, I think you’ll find this Protein-Packed Meatballs a solution to your weekly meal prep!
Like many of you out there, I’ve been focused on getting back to my baseline for health and wellness this January too. My go-to method follows a traditional Paleo template, where a whole-health approach according to what my body needs to feel and function better is the priority. The first step of which means leaning real heavy into the big three priorities of Paleo:
Blood sugar stability.
The bigger picture to accomplish that involves a grain-free, dairy-free diet where soy, refined sugars, and legumes are also avoided. Drilling down from there on the diet side of things means finding the right ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. (If you’re interested in more information about this for yourself, definitely seek out professionals qualified to make recommendations. I am not that person. I personally follow Diana Rodgers, Steph Gaudreau, Dr. Jolene Brighten, Dr. Corina Dunlap, Jessica Ash Wellness, Rachael Webster, and Micaela Riley for this kind of thing.).
I don’t usually fuss much over fats because 1) I’ve believed that healthy fats play an important role in whole-health for a while now and 2) cause I believe I’m already eating the right kind. Based on the sources I follow, I’ve learned that fats like avocados + oil, coconut milk/oil, olive oil, quality butter, salmon, tuna, sardines, quality eggs, nuts, etc. contribute to health and shouldn’t be feared. I buy into that brand of nutrition science, so this is a pretty open/shut situation for me. Definitely do your own research, talk with a medical professional, etc. to see if this is best for you.
I learned a long time ago that going too low-carb is not ideal for my Hashimoto’s, the autoimmune form of hypothyroidism, so I usually try not to get below 40 g to 60 g of carbs each day. Of course it’s not as simple as just hitting a target number, since carbs are a tricky business. The whole simple carb vs complex carb conversation can be a bit of a doozy to get your arms around, so if this piques curiosity at all, definitely check out Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s Instagram for more information about optimizing diet for autoimmune conditions. Thankfully after a decade, I’m tracking with sweet potatoes and squash over russets and rice. Check and check.
But the surprise challenge for me has been protein.
I eat two or three eggs for breakfast most mornings. I eat meat with lunch and dinner… and afternoon snack… and before-bed snack. It’s a love language, really. Even still, day after day, I am struggle-bussing to hit a minimum of 130 grams (a number provided via my personal daily nutrition plan courtesy of Lumen).
Despite my best effort, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to level up and start incorporating protein-boosting supplements.
I recently found out about Paleovalley and have tried lots of their products and supplements. They’re good. Very good. (Try the Red Velvet Cake Protein Bars and Beef Meat Sticks, for sure.) In particular, the Grass-Fed Bone Broth Protein Powder has been a game-changer. It’s totally flavorless and dissolves into everything. And it doesn’t change the texture either (which admittedly I was thinking it might do… like in a sticky, gelatin kind of way). So I’ve been adding it to eggs, soup, marinara sauce — you name it. Oh, and meatballs! The last of which I wanted to share with you today.
This is a basic meatball recipe that’s meant to be flexible so you can use different sauces or use it to make a variety of main dishes. For today, I’m using Primal Kitchen’s Steak Sauce cause I love the tangy, spicy flavors.
So here’s the approach:
Combine about a pound of ground beef with about a half pound of ground pork; the two meat combo is particularly helpful with grain-free meatballs since you won’t be using traditional breadcrumbs for texture and juiciness. Nutritional yeast is a great dairy-free alternative to cheese and eggs act as the binder… as you know. I like to use a general grill seasoning too since it covers the salt, pepper, garlic situation in one swoop.
Then add two scoops of the Paleovalley Bone Broth Protein Powder and boom! protein bumps way up.
Once all of the ingredients have been added to a large mixing bowl, combine by hand to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed together.
Then I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup as a scoop for forming the meatballs. Really anything that’s about this size will work, such as certain ice cream scoops. The idea is to do your best to make the meatballs the same size so that they cook evenly.
I like to line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat in order to keep the meatballs from sticking, though parchment paper or even aluminum foil work too.
Once they’ve baked for about 25 minutes in a 375°F oven, transfer to a mixing bowl and toss in your preferred sauce. If you are being mindful about sauces used (sugar-free, gluten-free, whole ingredients), Primal Kitchen is a good option. While I don’t love their ketchup, but I do like the spicy-tanginess of the steak sauce and the kick of their BBQ sauce.
Once you get a chance to make these, let me know how it went.
What sauce did you end up using? How did you serve it? Have you added a protein powder to your meatballs before? What other tips do you have for getting enough protein?
Let’s swap ideas in the comments below!
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Combine all ingredients except the steak or BBQ sauce
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the meat mixture into equal sizes and roll into balls
- Place each ball on the silicone-lined baking sheet, leaving space in between.
- Bake for about 25 minutes
- Transfer meatballs to a mixing bowl, discarding any of the juices that have been released while baking
- Toss in preferred sauce and serve